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September 24, 2020

The Mill and Monastic Cell of Saint Silouan the Athonite

St. Silouan working in the mill 
In his book, St. Silouan the Athonite (1991), Elder Sophrony (Sakharov), the disciple of Saint Silouan, writes of the Saint’s time in the mill of Saint Panteleimon Monastery on the Holy Mountain, where he also devoted himself entirely to prayer (p. 25):

His first “obedience” was to work in the Monastery mill. Those were flourishing days for Russian monasticism on Mount Athos. Saint Panteleimon had expanded until it stood like a small city in the surrounding “desert.” The number of brethren rose to almost two thousand, and from Russia visitors and worshippers came in their hundreds, many of them making a long stay in the Monastery’s large hostelries. All this kept the mill extremely busy. Yet Brother Simeon [St. Silouan’s name before monastic tonsure], who slept so little and ate so sparingly, who ceaselessly devoted himself to ardent prayer, shedding abundant and at times despairing tears, punctually performed the hard work he had been set, each day lifting and transporting a heavy weight of sacks of flour.

Today the monastery mill, where the venerable Elder Silouan bore his obedience for many years, is called “Siluanova” by the inhabitants of the Russian monastery on Mount Athos.

For many years, the mill stood in an abandoned and dilapidated state, but in 2019 it was restored. There is also now at the mill a monastic cell, the Church of Saint Silouan, and a museum where visitors can learn about the conditions in which the great Saint labored, how the mill worked, and so on. 

Painting of St. Silouan working in the mill by Pavel Ryzhenko
The Mill

Prophet Elias Church at the mill, where once during Vespers the Saint saw the living Christ. Today it is often called "Siluanovskaya": there is a chapel dedicated to him.

The Mill with cells and balconies

Cells of the mill with ancillary buildings

A reservoir for water that once turned the millstones. The depth (they say) is 4 meters, the width is about 5-6 meters, the length is about 20. The mill does not work, but water still regularly replenishes this man-made stone container.

At one time, the Saint often sat on one of these balconies. The monastery pier is clearly visible from here. In the hospital, which was once located in this building, he reposed.

Restoration of the mill in 2019

Restoration of the mill in 2019

Cell of St. Silouan at the mill
Inside the cell of St. Silouan

Bedroom of St. Silouan